Here we have Gargoyle, a distinguished literary magazine that was founded in 1976. (Ya’ll know I’ve been reading literary journals in my spare time, right?)
Published by Paycock Press in Arlington, Virginia, Gargoyle is a literary mammoth with issue #56 clocking in at over 450 pages.
Given its large size, I was somewhat skeptical about whether its content would be consistently high-quality. My skepticism was dispelled quickly, however.
Gargoyle doesn’t strike me as a journal you can read all at one sitting—or two, three, or four sittings for that matter.
Indeed, every time I picked up Gargoyle #56 and stared at its attractive (but very unusual) cover art, I began to hear it whispering to me, saying: “Look, you! Here’s something like a miracle, a long-burning literary lamp that will keep you warm throughout the year…. and which might even be large enough to stop an armed intruder.”
The headlining nonfiction piece, “Stuck Town” by Abbie J. Bergdale, offers a riveting portrait of small-town American life replete with drugs, cops, and pregnancy. That piece, as well as an interview with quirky prose writer Barry Hannah, more than made up for a rather thin nonfiction section (as I’ve written about before, though, quality creative nonfiction is much less common than quality fiction and poetry).
The journal seems mainly focused on poetry and fiction. I was also pleased to note a graphic short-story entitled “About the Tear” by Lydia Conklin (her work and a short biography can be found here at Everyday Genius).
The fiction section featured a number experimental pieces, flash fiction bordering on prose poetry, and a wide range of elegant pieces including the magical “A Summer’s Dream” by Kaoka Awa (translated by Toshiya Kamel).
Edited by one of the journal’s original founders, Richard Peabody, with assistance from Lucinda Ebersole, Gargoyle solicits submissions during summer reading periods. According to the journal’s website, reading for issue #62 begins in June of 2014.
(Full disclosure: I submitted once before and, though I was rejected, the verdict came swiftly from Peabody himself; I was honored, surprised, and—despite the suboptimal outcome—pleased with the experience.)
Having read much of issue #56 now, I can safely conclude that Peabody knows how to pick ‘em.
Given that this issue is several years old, I’m looking forward to getting my hands on a copy of the most recent issue…